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Maintaining Continuity + Managing Risk in Logistics

by Administrator25. March 2015 09:16

Maintaining Continuity + Managing Risk in Logistics | The Dependable Companies


A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as the saying goes. Likewise, a single breakdown anywhere in your supply chain can threaten to disrupt operations, posing a serious threat to any business. What is the solution? Simply put, planning for contingencies is the greatest protection that can be put in place. A focused backup plan is a key to ensuring fluid procurement and distribution for your business, regardless of circumstances.

Evaluate Your Risks

It is crucial to assess the risks your supply chain may eventually face. Weigh the physical location(s) where goods are manufactured, and whether political, labor, or geographical factors may compromise production at any point. Global issues should also be considered, such as fuel prices and inflation rates, both of which are capable of impacting your bottom line.

Designate Responsibilities

Once major risks have been identified, it is important to assign specific members of your organization (as well as outside partners) duties which must be carried out in order to respond to a disruption in service. This reduces the risk of unguided, knee-jerk reactions which may turn a bad situation worse.

Develop Versatility

Consider establishing business relationships with backup suppliers and logistics partners, in the event that a primary provider is incapacitated. Likewise, transport freight using multiple corridors and methods, so a single hindrance does not create major delays. Cross train staff to improve agility and emergency response capabilities.

Partner with Experienced Carriers

Freight services with larger fleets and which have been in service for longer periods of time usually share a common trait: they have weathered storms to survive and continue growing. Working with a proven entity can be a backup plan unto itself, provided proper planning is executed with that provider.

The Final Word

A good contingency plan always involves thorough planning, realistic risk analysis, and partnerships with the right people. Be sure off-site backups of shipping and applicable trade documents are in place, and most importantly, that backup plans are regularly tested for effectiveness. An auxiliary supplier is only a suitable safeguard if that supplier is readily available in the moment of need, so take care to review and update contacts regularly to minimize risk and ensure continuity in your logistical process.


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The Logistics of Sustainability (Infographic)

by Administrator25. March 2015 09:11


The Logistics of Sustainability (Infographic) | The Dependable Companies



Supply Chain Solutions Offered by Third-Party Logistics Providers

by Administrator18. March 2015 14:43

Supply Chain Solutions Offered by Third-Party Logistics Providers | The Dependable Companies


Every company that ships products from one location to another must be able to do so in a timely and efficient manner. Finding a warehouse to safely store the products, acquiring trucks or airplanes to transport the products, and figuring out how to deliver them to their final location requires a lot of planning. If the process is done inefficiently, it can result in the company wasting a lot of valuable resources. Third-party logistics providers have the necessary experience it requires to help companies utilize effective supply chain solutions.

Transportation Solutions

Many third-party logistics providers usually have access to trucks, airplanes, and ships that can quickly and safely transport a company’s products around the globe.  These providers utilize technology that can allow their customers to track their products all along the way. This allows customers to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their products are safe, and will be arriving at their final destination in a timely manner.

Third-party logistics providers also employ many methods to ensure that resources such as fuel are being used efficiently. They may use trucks that come with auxiliary power units (APU), which are anti-idling devices. Many providers require their drivers to travel at 61 mph, a speed which reduces fuel consumption. Both of these tactics save companies money on fuel, which is a huge part of the cost of transportation. 

Warehousing Solutions

Finding a temporary place to store products can be difficult for many companies. Third-party logistics providers offer their customers warehouses to securely store their materials until they are needed. They offer both long-term and short-term storage, for large and small quantities of product. These warehouses are incredibly secure. They often have video surveillance systems, and are guarded around the clock. The best providers utilize resources wisely by using highly efficient light bulbs, tractors that are compliant with EPA regulations, and by recycling boxes and computer equipment. 

Allowing a third-party logistics provider to handle all of a company’s transportation needs is a great way to save time and money. These providers help companies to efficiently transport and store products.


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3PL vs 4PL

by Administrator18. March 2015 14:27

3PL vs 4PL | The Dependable Companies


The world market operates with an increasingly complex supply chain. As such, many business terms are being created or are even used interchangeably. When it comes to logistics, it is important to understand the difference between third-party providers (3PL) and fourth-party providers (3PL).

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)

The CSCMP defines 3PL as outsourcing all or a portion of a business’s logistics operation to an outside company. The term was first coined in the 1970's for intermodal marketing companies (IMC). Instead of handling single contracts between shipper and carrier, businesses began using IMCs as middlemen. 

Today, most 3PL companies offer comprehensive strategies and typically bundle a variety of services, including the following: 

  • Warehousing
  • Transportation
  • Internal inventory management
  • Cross-docking
  • Packaging
  • Freight forwarding

In 2008, federal law reaffirmed this role with a legislative bill that officially defined 3PL as: “A person who solely receives, holds, or otherwise transports a consumer product in the ordinary course of business but who does take title to the product.”

When Did 4PL Come In?

The term 4PL began as an original trademark of Accenture in 1996. The company described it as a provider that pulls together and manages the resources and technology of its own operation with those of other providers to deliver one comprehensive service solution. Because the trademark is no longer registered, the term 4PL is now used more loosely in a more complex market. According to the CSCMP, there are several key differences between 4PL and 3PL:

  • 4PL structure is typically established separately as a long-term venture between a main client and one or more outside partners. 
  • 4PL providers establish a single alliance between the client and all other service providers.
  • 4PLs typically handle all aspects of a client’s supply chain.

4PL providers are also known as lead logistics providers. Because its main function is the entire supply chain, a 4PL can essentially be a non-asset-owning empire. Moreover, it is possible for a large 3PL to establish a 4PL within its own organization.


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The Role of TMS in Logistics

by Administrator12. March 2015 15:21

The Role of TMS in Logistics | The Dependable Companies


A transportation management system (TMS) is a specific element of supply chain software that focuses on movement and logistics. It is designed to handle all interactions between order processing and warehousing and distribution. By utilizing TMS software, companies are better able to streamline transportation of goods by land, air, and sea. 

TMS Software at a Glance

TMS software acts as the central hub for a large network of customers, carriers and shipping providers. Most systems incorporate sophisticated planning and decision-making modules to process an appropriate route for both inbound and outbound orders. Routes are then analyzed for efficiency, determining the best method of transit, number of stops, lead time, an appropriate provider and overall cost efficiency. A TMS usually offers enterprise resource planning software for tracking, auditing, accident report, customs brokering and final settling. 

Core Functions

Most TMS systems feature distinct modules for the following functions: 

  • Route planning and optimization
  • Mode selection 
  • Provider selection
  • Real-time tracking
  • Load optimization
  • Carrier management
  • Transport cost simulation
  • Shipment batching
  • Freight audit and payment
  • Cost control and KPI reporting

Types of TMS

TMS software is available as a regular purchased license or from a hosted license through Software as a Service (SaaS) or Cloud. Moreover, many versions operate in correlation with broader supply chain management software.

Key Benefits 

The business value of using transportation software is considerably high. TMS systems help manufacturers, distribution companies and carriers to see beyond pure cost to view their total operation holistically. Not only does a TMS streamline production, but it also improves customer service, warehouse efficiency and delivery capability. Managers enjoy more flexibility with which to enact changes to delivery plans. Plus, with more visibility throughout the chain comes improved accountability. 

With better route planning, load optimization and carrier pairing, logistics analysts are able to lower operational costs. Ultimately, a TMS offers a considerably high return on investment. Most software is easy to implement and is designed to quickly reduce inventory and boost overall cash flow in just a few months.


If you are reading this on any blog other than The Dependable Companies
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The United Nations Report on the Future of Sustainable Transport

by Administrator9. March 2015 14:23

The United Nations Report on the Future of Sustainable Transport | The Dependable Companies


Recently, the Secretary General of the United Nations made transportation one of the six building blocks for sustainable development around the world. His ambition plan addresses all types of transportation both within the borders of a given country and between countries. Here are some of the things addressed by the UN report on sustainable transportation.

Transport in Developed Countries

The world’s most developed countries are also usually its biggest sources of carbon emissions, primarily due to congested urban areas in which most people have a car and drive it regularly. The United Nations report addressed the problems specific to developed countries, calling for for a reduction in the dependence on fossil fuels with the ultimate goal of phasing them out entirely. In many cases, this is at least in part the responsibility of the government of the country in questions since they have the power to fund sustainable transportation development, encourage new types of transport, and provide subsidies for those that comply.

Transport in Developing Countries

Sustainable transport in developing countries is slightly different from in developed countries. Many of these countries do not have a large functioning system of infrastructure and are still in the process of establishing reliable transport between cities and remote areas. The UN report identifies these areas as an opportunity to implement sustainable transport right from the start, rather then establishing transportation systems that rely on fossil fuels, only to replace them later when that technology becomes obsolete. 

Sustainable Transport Methods

Sustainable transport methods discussed in the UN report include a movement away from personal automobiles and towards safe, reliable convenient public transportation in the form of buses, trains, and ferries. In many cases, public transport can be made even more sustainable by using vehicles that run on electricity rather than gasoline. It also identifies the importance of sustainability by commercial transport companies. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished, including investing in more fuel efficient vehicles and conducting driver training programs on the best practices for conserving fuel.


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Distribution & Logistics: Strategic, Tactical, Operational Planning (VIDEO)

by Administrator9. March 2015 13:55

Performance management consultant and business performance expert Victor Holman explains the various distribution and logistics strategies for a strategic, tactical, and operational plan.



Reasons to Employ E-Commerce Logistics Solutions

by Administrator5. March 2015 13:30

Reasons to Employ E-Commerce Logistic Solutions | The Dependable Companies


In the rapidly changing world of e-commerce, one key factor that businesses need to employ is e-commerce logistics. It is becoming vitally important for businesses to be able to manage and track their logistics online. Now that the majority of transactions happen online, businesses have to find fast and cost-efficient ways to meet the growing demands of their clients.

Faster Delivery and Response Time

Now that customers no longer have to go to a brick and mortar location to purchase a product or service, retailers are now responsible for providing their clients with timely deliveries. Regardless of the size of your business or the amount of orders it receives on any given day, it can be very expensive and very time consuming for your organization to attempt to cater to the demands of your customers on its own. Using an e-commerce company or solution to deal with your orders and deliveries increases the speed and efficiency of your order and delivery services. E-commerce logistics providers have a vast network of resources they can use to ensure that your business needs are met every step of the way, which helps you to cater to the needs of your customers.

Cost Effective

It costs a great deal of time and money for you to plan, scale and implement strategies that may or may not benefit your supply chain the way you need it to. Every aspect of your supply chain needs to be managed on a daily basis and not having the right resources, procedures and other vital components in place can really affect your business' bottom line and reputation. E-commerce logistics offers your business a very cost-effective all-in-one solution for your logistics and supply chain needs. You no longer need to plan for each step in the supply chain independently in order to get them to all function together cohesively.

While e-commerce means more work for your business, with the right third party e-commerce logistics solution it does not have to be.


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Efforts Made by 3PL Providers to Promote Sustainable Shipping

by Administrator3. March 2015 11:21

Efforts Made by 3PL Providers to Promote Sustainable Shipping | The Dependable Companies


Today’s economy largely depends on the ability of companies to ship the products that they sell from one location to another. This task can be expensive and rather complicated, which is why third-party logistics providers often step in to facilitate the process. Scientists are now discovering some of the possible negative impacts that fuel emissions are having on our environment. Because of these concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formed partnerships with individuals from the freight industry. Together, they have been able to come up with solutions that are reducing the negative environmental impact of shipping companies. 

Fuel Efficiency Equals More Profits

Many have discovered that such efforts can benefit these companies by reducing shipping costs and increasing efficiency. For example, although it may seem like a simple solution, many third-party logistics companies are making sure that they are sending out full truckloads when they ship their products. This often means that there will be fewer trips required which saves the company money and reduces the amount of fuel that is being pumped into the air. 

A number of third-party logistics providers use technological advances to ensure that fuel is being used more efficiently by their trucks. For example, many companies are utilizing Auxiliary Power Units. These clever devices will turn the engine off when a truck is stopped. This helps companies save money on gasoline and it protects the environment. Efforts are also being made by some companies to standardize the speed limit for the truck drivers in their employ. Research has shown that a speed limit of 61 mph reduces the amount of fuel that is consumed, and it also promotes public safety. 

Benefits of Promoting Sustainable Shipping Practices

Sustainable shipping efforts made by third-party logistics companies enable them to use their resources more wisely. It is also an effort to use the world’s resources with greater care and scrutiny. Third-party logistics companies that take their responsibility to this planet seriously will help to significantly reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. They will also be able to save on fuel costs and come out ahead financially.


If you are reading this on any blog other than The Dependable Companies
or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit.
You can find me on Twitter via @LogisticsDan
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Trends in Technology & Logistics: Is Your 3PL 2.0? [INFOGRAPHIC]

by Administrator3. March 2015 10:22

The logistics industry is undergoing a technological boom, and this is just the beginning - there are many further developments on the horizon. Because of this, eft, a global leader in supply chain and logistics business intelligence, researched questions pertaining to this technology impact. Their findings were then complied into a comprehensive infographic (featured below) that explores 3D printing, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT), driverless vehicles, and augmented reality (AR).


Technology & Logistics: Is Your 3PL 2.0? (infographic) | The Dependable Companies

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